Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Are Things Different For Writer-At-Home Dads?

Yesterday I listened to a terrific podcast on Write Out Loud. It was Episode 8, in case you stumble upon this months from now, with author Michael J. Sullivan. Sullivan is an excellent speaker and can tell his own story very well.

Now, there are all kinds of interesting things from that interview I could talk about. But for the sake of staying on task with this piece of flash nonfiction, I'm going to address only one:  In the podcast interview, Sullivan talked about how at some point during his first ten years of writing when he wasn't getting published, his wife was making more money than he was. So he stayed home as the primary caregiver for their child and continued to write.

This is very intriguing to me. In the writer circle I bop around in, it's quite common to run into women writers who write around caregiving or caregive around writing, depending on how you want to look at it. The boundary between their mom lives and their writer lives is very shaky. For instance, here in the Northeast, we've had a couple of snowstorms recently, in case you haven't heard, and my Facebook wall has had plenty of posts these last few weeks from writer moms torn between the joy of snow days and angsting over deadlines they were struggling with because the kids were always home from school.

So since listening to Sullivan's interview yesterday, I've been wondering what life is like for writer dads who work at home while being responsible for the offspring. Do they get into being room parents and going on field trips? Do all the neighborhood kids end up in their yards?

Do they take swimming lessons very, very seriously?
Do they obsess to the point of sobbing (yeah, that was me) over Halloween costumes?

Do Writer-At-Home Dads have the same issues Writer-At-Home Moms have? Are things different for them somehow?

Am I projecting my personal history on every writer parent--female and male--I run across?


david elzey said...

between july of 08 and july of 12 i was the at-home parent, earning my mfa and writing while my wage-earning professional wife held down the financials. snow days (and other midweek non school days) were lost. i drove sports carpools in afternoons for my teen daughters, did the dr and dentist runs, the whole bit.

in talking with my mom writer peeps i believe i dealt with the same issues they did. now that i;m back in the work force i'm more in line with most unpublished writers: squeezing out any time i can just to keep sane.

Gail Gauthier said...

If they were teenagers, I guess they preferred that you NOT make cupcakes to send to school for their birthdays, huh?

Yes, the day job is probably an even bigger time management problem for writers than the parent thing, though with any luck it's more predictable.